Some senior officials at Nkhata Bay District Council are commuting daily to work from Mzuzu – 47 Kilometres away from Nkhata Bay – due to lack of houses around their work station.
These officials include Directors of Planning and Development (DPD), Finance, Procurement and Chief Finance Officer.
Nkhata Bay District Commissioner Peter Jimusole confirmed that sometimes, the officers report late for work.
He further said the housing problem is beyond the council’s control.
Jimusole said the district has no proper houses that can accommodate such seniors, hence operating from Mzuzu.
He said majority of the houses are small and the few that are big are owned by Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) and are in dilapidated state.
“This problem will continue until people and government decide to build good houses here. These people are not entitled to housing. They are supposed to find accommodation on their own; so, they find the houses in Mzuzu and they use their own transport to work here. I cannot force them to be staying here while there are no proper houses for them,” Jimusole said.
He said he himself is not even comfortable with the house he is occupying because it is in dilapidated state and not befitting his position as District Commissioner.
He said the problem is not only affecting officials from the council.
Director of Finance Solomon Mkundika asked for more time before commenting on the matter.
Councillor for Mpamba Ward Joseph Thula said the problem is huge and affecting the officials’ delivery of services to the communities.
He said in cases of need for urgent services, for example, the senior officers are not readily available as they do not stay within the district.
“Remember these are key positions at the council and they are at all times needed by people for their services,” Thula said.
The matter was also raised when Vice President Saulos Chilima visited the council during the recent reforms’ evaluation meeting. Chilima demanded an urgent solution to the issue.
Jimusole said following Chilima’s directive, he met with officials at the council but the problem still needs ample time to be solved.
A similar problem was also recorded recently at Likoma District Council where some officials were operating from Nkhata Bay District.